Kentucky Studies Syllabus

Kentucky/Appalachian Studies

Rowan County Senior High School

Mrs. Peyton 2013

This class is officially listed as “Kentucky Studies,” but we will broaden the focus to include Appalachia, then narrow our study to the Eastern Kentucky region, and then broaden it again to the state of Kentucky. The content will include history, culture, perceptions, and current issues.

The intent of the class is to have it loosely constructed so as to connect it to the students’ interests. But this requires that students bring a high level of interest to the class!

Course Objectives:

• To develop a comprehensive knowledge of the historical, political, social and economic development of both Appalachia and Kentucky.

• To understand both the historic and current issues facing these two regions, and the connection between the past and the present.


Biggers, Jeff. The United States of Appalachia

Caudill, Harry. Night Comes to the Cumberlands

Eckert, Allan. The Court Martial of Daniel Boone

House, Silas. Clay’s Quilt

Klotter, James. Kentucky History

Offutt, Chris. Kentucky Straight

Still, James. River of Earth

Method of Instruction:

This class will include a significant amount of discussion, connecting student’s knowledge from each student’s own experiences in this area. We will also use lecture, discussion, activity centers, and conduct research projects and oral histories.


• Viewing documentaries and clips, particularly regarding perceptions of Appalachia and the addressing the issues of coal mining, timber production, and poverty.

• Readings from authors such as Jessie Stuart, James Still, Silas House, Allan Eckert, and Chris Offut during our unit on literature. You will pick a piece of Appalachian fiction to read.

• Mapwork on both the Appalachian Region and Kentucky.

• Student Choice Research Project: Students will partner to research and present a project about different regions in Kentucky.

• Oral History Project: Students will interview a local resident who has grown up in Kentucky.


The class will be a combination of formative and summative assessments:

Formative: this will include daily discussions, mapwork, research on issues and assigned readings. Some of these will be scored for the gradebook, some will not. I will keep record of daily participation, which will reflect in your grades in that we’ll see whether you were

involved in class each day!

Summative: This will include our individual topic tests, a unit exam, research presentation and

oral history paper.

Note: retakes for all assessments should take place within one week of the original due/completion date. For a student to be allowed to retake, they must complete a 30 minute study session with me in my room during my available after-school hours. This study period cannot take place in the 30 minutes prior to the retake! So plan ahead.


We will be utilizing a composition book in this class. All handouts, notes, and important information will be in this book. If you have issues with remembering to bring stuff to class, I have a bin in which you can place the notebook each day. I am NOT RESPONSIBLE for what may happen to it, however! It’s at your own risk to leave itJ

Course Outline:

(Note: This outline is tentative—as we study issues, we might rearrange or change the course of our class!)

I. Introduction to Appalachia

a. Geography

b. Stereotypes

Reading: Biggers--preface

II. Pre-American Revolution through early settlement

a. Native American presence

b. Hunters/trappers and trade

Reading: Caudill--chapters 1-2

III. American Revolution through the Civil War

a. Position during the War

b. Grants of land and settlement

c. Role during the Civil War

Caudill, chapters 3-5

IV. Late 1800’s-early 1900’s

a. Coal Business

b. Lumber Business

Caudill, chapters 6-10

V. Mid 1900’s through the 1960’s

a. Decline of major industries

b. Rise of the welfare state

c. War on Poverty

VI. Current Issues

a. Coal

b. Poverty

c. Education

d. Drug Abuse

VII. Kentucky Geography

a. Regional divisions

b. Waterways

c. Land use

VIII. Kentucky’s Population

a. Counties

b. Cities

IX. Kentucky’s Most Notables

a. Folk Art

b. Bluegrass Music

c. Literature